Game Preview: Detroit at Portland

Date: Jan. 7, 2009

Time: 10:00 p.m.

Detroit record: 21-11

Portland record: 20-14

Detroit probable starters:


PG- Rodney Stuckey


SG- Allen Iverson


SF- Tayshaun Prince


PF- Amir Johnson


C- Kwame Brown

Portland probable starters:


PG- Steve Blake


SG- Rudy Fernandez


SF- Nicolas Batum


PF- LaMarcus Aldridge


C- Greg Oden

Spread: No line

Outlook: For just the second time in eight games, the Pistons face a team with a winning record. But the Trailblazers will likey be without their best player, Brandon Roy, who’s out with a right hamstring injury.

For the Pistons, Hamilton and Wallace are out again. An interesting take from the Detroit News’s Chris McCoskey, who says Antonio McDyess’s injury is more severe than Hamilton’s or Wallace’s.

Detroit will need McDyess to contribute in the post against the formidable duo of Aldridge and Oden. But not only do the Pistons need to play good defense in the post against those two, Detroit must make Aldridge and Oden work defensively, which will slow them down defensively.

Also key in the battle down low will be Johnson’s ability to stay out of foul trouble. Johnson picked up three first-half fouls against the Clippers on Sunday, restricting him to about four minutes in that frame. Los Angeles scored 54 first-half points. When Johnson played about 20 minutes in the second half, the Clippers scored just 33.

Johnson’s ability to defend, grab rebounds and just use his athleticism to rattle the opponent’s rhythm has been key in Detroit’s seven-game win streak.

Especially with Roy out, Portland’s fortunes tonight will likely be determined in the post.

Stuckey will go against Blake, a pretty good defender. As well as Stuckey has played lately, this could be a tough matchup for him. His best bet might be to use his strength to back Blake down in the post – a tactic he has yet to really use much to his advantage.

Prince will match up with a poor man’s version of himself in Batum, a rookie. He should continue to outplay his opponent.

Fernandez, another rookie, is still very raw defensively, as detailed by Wendell Maxey for Hoopsworld. If Iverson brings out the bag of tricks that made him a four-time scoring champion, he could have a big night.



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